10 October 2010

Resident Evil: Afterlife

Resident Evil: Afterlife [2D]

Starring Milla Jovovich, Wentworth Miller, Ali Larter, Kim Coates, Kacey Barnfield, Shawn Roberts, Spencer Locke, Boris Kodjoe, Norman Yeung, Sergio Peris-Mencheta. Written & Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. Release: 10 September 2010, Screen Gems, 98 mins., Rated R

Plot: Zombies. Alice. Slow motion. Guns. Swords. Blood. BOOM!

There's few cinematic guilty pleasures of mine as the RESIDENT EVIL franchise. After blindly entering APOCALYPSE so many years ago, fearing that I would be chilled by the sight of zombies [never been a fan of zombies in general as a story point, but when done effectively, they do give me the willies], but instead ended up leaving the theater with a wide smile on my face, effectively in love with the video game-like nature of the series. And then EXTINCTION came out, and my love grew even more. A seemingly SuperGirl of the future in the form of Alice (Jovovich), the movies protagonist, who walks the earth killing the "infected" with her superhuman powers, all the while trying to bring down this ginormous evil company, called the Umbrella Corporation. AWESOME. And now a fourth one is released, and a (hopefully) fifth one on the way, I'm basking in RESIDENT EVIL heaven. So how does this one compare to the other three?

[BTW, ladies and gentlemen, I implore you not to buy the RESIDENT EVIL TRILOGY DVD set, or even a forthcoming set with all four of 'em packaged together. No matter what you do, there's not going to be consistency unless you wait a good until the last one's released. I'm a stickler for making everything look even and consistent-like, so buying a TRILOGY set and then having another DVD or two of the same franchise next to it...ugh, nightmares]

Basically, I loved it. From the super awesome beginning with a legion of Alice clones descending into a Umbrella building located under Tokyo to the jaw-droppin' worthy cliffhanger, AFTERLIFE delivers all the goods and more. As noted above, I saw the 2-D version, figuring that the 3-D probably wouldn't add too much more to my viewing pleasure [despite the multiple adds saying as such, as they are for the impending SAW 3D], but it turns out that it may just be worth checkin' out. Director Paul W.S. Anderson gleefully indulges in throwing objects at the camera - as seen in the promos, there are two really beautiful shots of sunglasses being tossed towards us as well as another scene in a raining bathroom where this giant scythe narrowly misses Alice and Claire. Um, awesome! And here I was thinking that we were in for another shameful FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3-D, which wasn't even good bad.

For the zombie lovers, AFTERLIFE offers the usual braindead zombies who just want to feast on human skin. Oh, yummyness. But it also brings in two other creatures. There's this hulking ten foot tall beastie that is just freakin' imposing, and causes quite a problem for Alice in the bathroom. Just when our heroes are about to get out of the breached fortress, this troll walks in intent on killing our dear Alice. Boasting that giant seven foot long (at least) blade, I'd go so far as to say this thing was just as strong as Nemesis from APOCALYPSE. Not as indestructible, but powerful indeed. So that fight scene is most definitely one of the films highlights. There's also these creatures that open their mouth wide in four or six different suckling spots, like Dracula in BLADE: TRINITY, and starts feasting on yousa. Fugly, but cool all at the same time.

I hit up RESIDENT EVIL flicks for the action, and this fourth installment does not disappoint. It was a tough act to follow. I mean, how utterly awesome was it to see Alice use her mind to harness fire and scorch all those birds in EXTINCTION? Um, really awesome. Ginormous doozy. But here we have the zillion Alice clones blowing up the Tokyo-based Umbrella Corp, which was nicely edited together with all the CG elements. And then Alice leaving a deserted Alaska to check out Los Angeles, with one hell of a cool and tense landing on the top of a crumbing building. Double awesomeness. The fight in the bathroom with the ten foot giant - super mega awesomeness. Alice on the rooftop running away from a good 400 or more zombies and then jumping for her life - cool. Overall, AFTERLIFE delivered. My only dislike is the overuse of slow mo. Granted, it wasn't over-indulged WATCHMEN-style, spread out through three hours, but there was enough of it that it go to a point where it was a little much. However, it's a small complaint for a otherwise solid action film.

Evaluation time for the performances. Yes, even for a RESIDENT EVIL movie. By now, Milla Jovovich totally owns Alice. She can kick your ass just by looking atcha, she has a bazillion clones at her disposal [speaking of which, I forget, was that subplot introduced in EXTINCTION?], and she's able to show the soft, vulnerable side as well. Really, my ticket's bought when Milla officially joins on for each RESIDENT EVIL movie. Ali Larter continues to not do much for her career by reprising her role as Claire established in the previous movie, except this time she has the ridiculous plot point of having amnesia! Woah! But at least she's still able to kick ass, so good for you. Oh, and turns out she has a brother Chris, played by Wentworth Miller of PRISON BREAK fame. 'Course she doesn't remember him, but he can kick ass just like his sis, so they must be related, no? Miller channels his Michael Schofield so marvelously, showing off his mischievous yet deadly side. If another TERMINATOR flick is in the pipeline, I nominate Miller as a good best friend to John Connor. The real performance ownage of AFTERLIFE? Shawn Roberts as Albert Wesker, the Agent Smith-like superhuman [after injecting himself with Alice's blood] who has no expression of any sort other than a snide smirk at his utter evilness and indestructibility. Shawn Roberts is awesome, and I mean that entirely from a so-bad-it's-FANTASTIC way. His performance must be seen to believed and experienced to understand. Hell, I want me a Albert Wesker spin-off, like, yesterday!

RESIDENT EVIL -AFTERLIFE delivers the goods. A completely enjoyable action movie with a bunch of zombies and zombified new creatures, a hilariously bad-yet awesome antagonist who can fight two people at once, Alice shooting zombies with coins, tonally appropriate score that gets yah in the mood, and a cliffhanger ending that made me wet my pants with desire. Not serious with the wet pants part, but it's enough of a 'Holy shit! How the frak are they gonna get out of that one?' ending, I want that fifth flick pronto. My only hope: the writer doesn't do that evil 'four months/weeks later...' thing. RESIDENT EVIL 5 better start approximately when AFTERLIFE concludes, or I will not be a happy camper. Anyway, back to AFTERLIFE - if yah digged the prior RESIDENT EVIL movies, I see no reason to not continue the viewing pleasure. If you're a newbie looking for a good action film, well here yah good. Is AFTERLIFE worth the 3-D? Can't say with 100% certainty, but at the very least, the movies shots were designed for the gimmick, so it just might be worth it.

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